Thursday, March 31, 2005
Employment cases decided to date generally have not addressed blogging as a separate phenomenon but instead have dealt with classic employment issues as they arise in this new setting. Employees have been terminated for things such as disclosing confidential or sensitive business information; making public comments that could be harmful to the company's interests or reputation; misusing company time (i.e., spending work time on non-work related activities, such as surfing the Internet or conducting a side business); using company resources, including technology, for an improper purpose or in contravention of company policy; sending e-mails from work that are offensive or threatening; and engaging in off-duty behavior or conduct inconsistent with continued employment.
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Client Advisory 3.05
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
It goes without saying that the pro-life rubric provides the religious right with a powerful rhetorical symbol. The word "life" encompasses a far more resonant standard for moral action than does the word "choice." And yet, in the book of Deuteronomy, when Moses tells God's people, "Choose Life," life and choice are yoked together in a single redemptive dynamic. Without choice, life, especially moral life, is diminished to almost nothing. Without choice there can be no moral agency. Moral capacity is based entirely on the ability to choose, even to choose life.
Forrest Church, Beliefnet 3.28.05
Neither the letter of the law, nor the opinion of the general public, nor our best assessment of what Schiavo would have wanted could dissuade conservatives from pushing what is, to them, an apparent point of overwhelming principle: It's always wrong to let somebody die when more medical treatment could keep them alive, no matter what they would have wanted or what quality of life they can enjoy.
Matthew Yglesias, Tapped 3.28.05
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Brooks wants to think this is a dispute over two different ways of seeing the world. To honorable people like him and Robert George, it is. Sadly, in the real world, it's a mud wrestling match between truth and falsehood.
Dan Kennedy, Media Log [Boston Phoenix] 3.26.05, last item
Saturday, March 26, 2005
The socially conservative argument has tremendous moral force, but doesn't accord with the reality we see when we walk through a hospice. The socially liberal argument is pragmatic, but lacks moral force.
David Brooks, New York Times 3.26.05, reg req'd
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Blogs hosted in Utah are to face strict legal regulation due to new laws signed by the Utah State Governor that are designed to protect children from Internet pornography.
Blog Herald 3.23.05
[L]ife-and-death decisions involving a person in a vegetative state do not belong in the political arena. They are deeply personal matters to be decided by families. The best thing is to keep them out of the courts and, above all, out of the hands of legislative bodies who don't even bother to take the time to study the case or hold hearings.
Editorial, Deseret Morning News 3.23.05
[Elizabeth F.] Emens, who teaches the University of Chicago Law School, has published a major legal and cultural defense of polyamory (group marriage). . . .
The professor is unhappy that proponents of same-sex marriage agree with Santorum that were gay marriage to create a new openness to adultery, bigamy, and polygamy, that would be a bad thing. Emens's preferred response to Rick Santorum's parade of horribles is "So what?"
Stanely Kurtz, National Review Online 3.23.05; via FamilyScholars.org
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
While [Christians] grieve on Good Friday for the suffering and death of Jesus, they know that within three days they will be wearing fine suits, singing joyful hymns, and feasting on the heads of chocolate bunnies.
Dan Barry, New York Times 3.23.05, reg req'd
Without commenting on how the biblical anecdote applies to today's situation, [Archbishop O'Malley] pointed out that "Jesus did not seem to pick the best and the brightest" as his disciples. Priests, he said, are to be "vessels of clay, bearing treasures for God's people."
"Jesus, . . . in forming his spiritual army, did not assemble a well-groomed, highly disciplined, state-of-the-art army of Dale Carnegie communicators in polyester suits and well-moussed pompadours, but rather he went down to the wharves and called a ragtag dirty dozen to be the pillars on which he would build his church, a clear indication that the enterprise was to be more than met the eye," he said.
Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 3.23.05
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
"I have to admit, that as a Mormon, I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman . . . and a woman and a woman," he said [at South Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day breakfast].
Mike Kunzelman [AP], Boston Globe 3.20.05
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, who angered many Catholic women last year by inviting only men to participate in a ritual Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony, has decided that this year he will wash the feet of women and men.
Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 3.19.05
Thursday, March 17, 2005
After months of turning the other cheek, Vatican officials are lashing out against "The Da Vinci Code," saying Catholics should not buy or even read the best-selling thriller.
Elisabeth Rosenthal [International Herald Tribune], Boston Globe 3.17.05
Bishops of the Episcopal Church U.S.A., under pressure from leaders of the international Anglican Communion not to approve any more openly gay bishops, have gone a step further and decided not to approve any new bishops at all for a year. . . .
The 140 bishops at the meeting, in Navasota, northwest of Houston, also pledged not to bless the union of same-sex couples for a year, or to authorize "public rites" for such ceremonies.
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times 3.17.05, reg req'd
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Why is newsmashing better than today's blogging techniques? Currently, political bloggers write a post by taking a snippet from a news story, an op-ed column, or another blog post. Then, they copy, paste, and indent the most partisan, disingenuous, and inaccurate passage onto their own blog and add a bulletproof rebuttal right below. The problem with this technique is that it makes the readers do all the work. First, they need to pop the original piece open in another window to "read the whole thing." After that, they have to flip back and forth between the original and the rebuttal to make sure the blogger isn't getting the facts wrong, leaving out a key detail, or quoting something out of context. Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to read blogs if you could look at the critique and the original argument at the same time?
Paul Boutin, Slate 3.15.05
The power of a religious appeal was displayed vividly this week in Atlanta, as the gutsy hostage of Brian Nichols, the accused courthouse killer, appeared to calm him down by reading a passage from a spiritual bestseller.
It was no ordinary book, but Southern Baptist minister Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?" . . .
In interviews, the hostage, Ashley Smith, has said she read aloud from Warren's book to Nichols, who had taken her captive after allegedly killing a judge and three others.
Smith said Nichols had asked her to repeat a passage about service to others, and she said she suggested to him that his acts might have a purpose -- that by disseminating God's word in prison, "you can go to jail and save more people than you killed."
David Mehegan, Boston Globe 3.16.05
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Gays and lesbians have a right to marry under the California Constitution, a state judge here ruled Monday, striking down state laws that limit marriage to "a man and a woman."
"No rational basis exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners," wrote San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer. "Same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because California has always done so before."
Lee Romney and Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times 3.15.05, reg req'd
Monday, March 14, 2005
Stephen Coles, Typographica 2.16.05, via J-Log 2.19.05
Even as online pundits criticize traditional news organizations as slow, biased and technologically challenged, a group of bloggers is trying to use old-fashioned telephone conference calls to share their ideas with newspaper and television journalists.
The bloggers, who describe themselves as liberal or progressive, say the conference calls are intended to counter what they regard as the much stronger influence of conservative pundits online. . . .
[B]loggers on all sides agree that the left has made less effective use of the opportunities to organize and wield influence afforded by the Internet. The reasons, though, are more complex than they might appear. "It's not just a story about the blogosphere," said Jack M. Balkin, a professor and director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. "It's a story about the conservative social networks of which the blogosphere is a part. The important thing is the network — and I mean the social network."
Jonathan D. Glater, New York Times 3.14.05, reg req'd
The intimate nature of the policy debate over same-sex marriage extends even to the farthest poles of the political spectrum: to Christian evangelicals such as [Robert H.] Knight, who have gay friends or family members, and to gay-rights activists such as [Elizabeth] Birch, whose friends include religious fundamentalists.
But if the Birch-Knight relationship can be called a friendship, each perceives the relationship differently.
To Knight, she's Elizabeth, choosing to call her by her first name in debates. Knight considers Birch, 48, a friend, and his face lights up at the mention of her name. "I hope she likes me as much as I like her," he said.
To Birch, he's Mr. Knight, a type, a reminder of the evangelicals she knew growing up in Canada who, she says, still can't reconcile their religious views with their affection for individual gays. She considers engagement with Knight a way to maintain a pipeline to the Christian evangelical world; she's convinced that many young gays and lesbians are trapped in the closet in that world.
"I think he's sincere, but the implications of our disagreement are so profound for me," Birch said. "For him, it's just part of his work."
Nina J. Easton, Boston Globe 3.13.05
Friday, March 11, 2005
We still pay lip service to equal opportunity, even though, absent an ever-expanding white-collar universe, some children of the middle class will need to fail in order to make room at the top of the occupational ladder for the talented children of the working class. And well-to-do middle-class parents do not like it when their children fail.
To prevent failure, middle-class parents pass along to their children every possible advantage, in the form of "social capital," or those habits of speech and self-discipline that allow a child to thrive in the classroom. Middle-class parents who can afford the property taxes move to the best school districts, or send their children to private schools. . . .
At Harvard, the leftover ideals from the Golden Age and the age of diversification are each used to mask the current reality, in which education in general, and Harvard in particular, are weapons with which the middle class—and increasingly an upper-upper-middle class—sustain and defend the status of their own children.
Stephen Metcalf, Slate 3.10.05
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
His faith, [Colorado state Rep. Terrance Carroll] says, influences many of his positions on public policy matters, but [New Horizon Community Church's] role in his personal life is more visceral. It lets him help people hands-on, he says, instead of just through the law.
Carroll and wife Marilyn, who is just finishing her second master's degree in divinity and preparing to enter a doctoral program, run the church together.
Douglas Brown, Denver Post 3.6.05; via The Revealer
Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Hailing weblogs as the "next great revolution in journalism," the United Church of Christ today released its network-rejected "bouncer ad" on nearly 50 of the most widely-read blogs [not including Philocrites]. . . .
An estimated 1 million will view the UCC's banned ad through the blog advertisements, said the Rev. Robert Chase, director of communications for the 1.3-million-member denomination.
J. Bennett Guess, UCC.org 3.8.05
Monday, March 7, 2005
Some bloggers want any protection available to journalists at traditional media companies to also be available to them, and journalists at those companies want to make sure that the reporter shield privilege is preserved.
Yet if recognizing a privilege for bloggers means that everyone online can maintain that they are journalists, judges may conclude that rather than giving everyone the privilege, no one should have it. That possibility worries reporters, who could find themselves at new risk for what they write or broadcast.
Jonathan Glater, New York Times 3.7.05, reg req'd
Welcome to a Special Edition of Talking Points Memo devoted to the Bankruptcy bill now pending before the United States Senate.
Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School and law students Michael Negron, Ryan Spear, and Jason Spitalnick
Like forbidden dissenters in some intolerant land, a couple hundred families took refuge in a [Presbyterian] church basement in Washington yesterday for a morning of dangerous television. So controversial were the images that the Bush administration wants its underwriting money back. So subversive was its plot that the local public television station refused to air it. . . .
They had come to see a television cartoon rabbit by the name of Buster.
David Montgomery, Washington Post 3.5.05, reg req'd; via Chalicechick
Sunday, March 6, 2005
But criticism of the marriage between conservatism and populism comes not only from the left. In his bracing new book, "Democracy and Populism: Fear and Hatred'' (Yale), the traditionalist historian John Lukacs — well-known for his elegant histories of the great men and great events of World War II — offers a dark vision of modern democracy being destroyed by nationalist demagogues who gain power by bullying unpopular minorities and pursuing a belligerent foreign policy. Today's politicians of the right, Lukacs writes, have abandoned the conservative values of stability, order, and tradition and instead learned to bind nationalist majorities together by evoking hatred, directed not just against foreign foes but against fellow citizens who are seen as insufficiently patriotic.
Jeet Heer, Boston Globe 3.6.05
On the streets of New Paltz — which, in the first half of 2004, witnessed boisterous demonstrations on the courthouse steps in support of [mayor Jason] West, nearly 300 gay marriages solemnized by clergy members at a local bed-and-breakfast and a visit from a radical anti-gay hate group — T-shirts celebrating homosexual marriage are gone from shop windows, and the Gilded Otter Brewing Co. on Main street has discontinued its Nuptial Ale homebrew.
Jesse J. Smith, Daily Freeman 2.27.05
Thursday, March 3, 2005
[MoveOn's Social Security] ad, which depicts senior citizens performing manual labor, was not only paid for by MoveOn members but was also created by them. This kind of closed feedback loop is indicative of a larger problem: the group's almost hermetic left-wing insularity. "We don't get around much," acknowledges [co-founder Wes] Boyd. "We tend to all stay in front of our keyboards and do the work."
For MoveOn, "the work" consists of looking for spikes in e-mail traffic and monitoring online forums to divine the issues that drive its members. Boyd and [MoveOn's other co-founder Joan] Blades have bitten hard on the "wisdom of crowds" concept. They believe that strategies posted and rated by fellow activists provide the basis for picking campaigns that members will pay to support. "We've discovered a way to engage people so that they want to open their wallets," says Boyd. "If we can come up with a great campaign, we know it will get funded." . . .
[But] MoveOn's values aren't middle-American values. They're the values of an educated, steadily employed middle and upper-middle class with time to dedicate to politics -- and disposable income to leverage when they're agitated. That's fine, as long as the group sticks to mobilizing fellow travelers on the left. But the risks are greater when it presumes to speak for the entire [Democratic] party.
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone 2.24.05; via Paul Wilczynski